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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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Video, Q&A Highlight Cases Spurred by Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

(Brussels) – Human Rights Watch released a question-and-answer document and video on October 20, 2016 that highlight the groundbreaking investigations and prosecutions in European countries of people accused of kidnappings, ill-treatment, and torture in…
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Others Still Jailed After Protesting President’s Power Grab

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe announced at a press conference on Friday that some of the country’s political prisoners would be released. He also said bans on two media outlets close to the opposition would be lifted…
Composite photo showing, clockwise from upper left, activists Fred Bauma, Yves Makwambala, Jean-Marie Kalonji, and Christopher Ngoyi.
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
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Projects Spotlight Crises in Congo and Colombia

(New York) - Human Rights Watch has won three prestigious Webby Awards for its video and multimedia work, drawing attention to human rights crises in Colombia and Congo. The winning projects tell the stories of brave human rights defenders and survivors…
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Stand up for Persecuted Human Rights Activists; Shut Guantanamo

(New York) - The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama should encourage him to apply his stated principles to both foreign and domestic human rights policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nobel committee awarded the prize…
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"We Will Crush You" The Restriction of Political Space in the Democratic Republic of Congo Map of the Democratic Republic of Congo I. Summary Methodology II. Recommendations To the Congolese Government To the Congolese National Assembly and Senate To…
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The European Parliament should condemn European complicity in the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program of “extraordinary renditions” and secret detention of prisoners, Human Rights Watch said today. The report of the European Parliament’s…
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Diplomatic Assurances Against Torture Offer No Protection From Abuse

The United Nations’ ruling that Sweden violated the global torture ban in its involvement in the CIA transfer of an asylum seeker to Egypt is an important step toward establishing accountability for European governments complicit in illegal US renditions…
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Security Council Must Push Government to Protect Rights of Journalists, Civil Society

(New York, June 9, 2006) – When U.N. Security Council members visit the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 11 and 12, they should insist that the transitional government protect the rights of journalists and human rights defenders, who have increasingly…
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Council of Europe Deadline Is Today; European Parliament to Begin Hearings

European governments must provide detailed information about their participation in or knowledge of the Central Intelligence Agency’s unlawful detention and transfer of terrorist suspects. Two European bodies are investigating the CIA’s activities in…
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(New York) - Human rights defenders in the Democratic Republic of Congo are under increasing attack, Human Rights Watch said in a backgrounder on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly released today. In the past few years, the main rebel groups…